Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Legislature gives head-fake to domestic violence victims.

The Clarion-Ledger reported the legislature changed domestic violence laws:
"Under the new legislation, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour:
A person arrested for violating a domestic abuse order will have to appear before a judge before he can be bailed out of jail.
(Woo-hoo, he gets to see a judge THEN he bails out.)
Protections will be extended to victims of stalking and sexual assault who are not in a relationship with their assailant and children who live with the abuser but are not related.
Fees will be assessed to convicted abusers to go toward the Domestic Violence Division of the state attorney general's office and the state's Victims of Domestic Violence Fund.
(That will make him think twice before he commits domestic violence.)
New law also clarifies instances when officers must file a complaint on behalf of a victim who is afraid to go forward with charges.
Most of the new laws go into effect July 1."


Looks like a lot but most of these changes amount to nothing. However, that didn't stop Mazie Smith, policy coordinator for the Mississippi Domestic Violence Coalition, lapping up any crumb the good ole boys threw her from the table:
"Smith said the most important thing is for victims to feel safe coming forward to report the crimes, rather than waiting until it's too late."

Ms. Smith has it completely wrong as the most important thing for victims is to start locking these guys up and closing the loopholes. Did it ever occur to her the reason why women don't come forward to report domestic violence is because too often the abusers are set free by the judges to come back home to terrorize their families again? More victims would feel safer if they knew they could count on the criminal justice system to lock up the wife-beaters.

While any improvement to domestic violence laws are welcome, these new laws are almost a joke. In an earlier post, I spelled out exactly how the laws could be changed to help stop domestic violence:

1. Change the loophole in the law that allows a judge to suspend a sentence in exchange for "counseling". The law states: "Every conviction of domestic violence may require as a condition of any suspended sentence that the defendant participate in counseling or treatment to bring about the cessation of domestic abuse. The defendant may be required to pay all or part of the cost of the counseling or treatment, in the discretion of the court. " Section 97-3-7(6) of the Mississippi Code. In reality, too many judges use this loophole to let someone off of the hook who has beaten his wife or children. For example, in the earlier post Divorce and domestic violence in Mississippi, a man beat his pregnant wife in Rankin County. This was his second arrest for domestic violence with a different wife. He completed his anger management class and voila, he was back home. Did I mention he later lost his visitation rights to his child after he abused him? Do all battered families some good and close this loophole.

2. MAKE POLICE REPORTS INCLUDE A NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION AND MAKE THEM AVAILABLE WITHIN THREE BUSINESS DAYS!!! How many crimes of domestic violence would be avoided if women had the ability to see if someone they were thinking of marrying or dating had ever been arrested for domestic violence or other crimes for that matter? Many states such as Louisiana make police reports available for a small fee. It's time Mississippi followed suit and allowed for police reports to be made public. In the above example, the wife-beater coached soccer for small kids after TWO arrests for beating different wives. There was no way to obtain a copy of the police report at the time in order to protect the children from such a violent person. Even now, most agencies will make the potential victim wait three weeks until they respond to the request. However, don't worry. They'll tell you they take domestic violence seriously even while they cover up for the wife beater.

3. Set up as part of the continuing education for judges visits to battered women's shelters (not in their jurisdictions) so that they can better see how serious a crime domestic violence really is. Including Sheriffs and Chiefs in such a program probably is not a bad idea. If possible (and make it volunteer only for the victims), arrange for discussions on such tours.

4. Upgrade Simple Domestic Assault from a misdemeanor to a felony. One observation made about the Spencer case was SDA was the only charge that allowed the police to pursue the complaint against George Bell, III without the victim's consent. The problem is, that charge is a misdemeanor. A thug can take a baseball bat, beat his wife within an inch of her life, then face only a misdemeanor charge after somehow pressuring her to drop the charges. Since current laws are clearly not working, it is time to change the rules and make Simple Domestic Violence a felony. See http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/09/jpd-and-heather-spencer.html

If I sound angry I am. What the legislature and Ms. Smith served up to us was garbage passed off as a souffle. These changes do almost nothing for domestic violence victims. Instead of enacting these cosmetic changes, the legislature should change the laws so these scumbags are thrown in jail and kept in jail away from their victims after they are convicted. The new laws ultimately do nothing to protect a victim after the initial arrest and release. If Ms. Smith wants to truly help victims, she should take a stronger stand in pushing for changes instead of being the lapdog happy for any bone thrown her way. Start actually prosecuting the wife-beaters and locking them up will make women feel much safer then any catch and release program.

Note: This is a report issued by a commission empaneled to examine Missisppi's Domestic Violence laws on which these new enactments are based. Needless to say, all it focuses on is making it easier to file charges, more funding, and improving protective orders. It does not even address the loopholes in the laws outlined above or deal with nutjobs who ignore protective orders. Report

Earlier post on Clarion-Ledger domestic violence jellotorial


Conservative Belle said...

I really liked your suggestions!

There has to be a way to re-program society to NOT look down their noses at victims of domestic violence.

I can't help but think about the Governor commuting the sentence of the guy who was so obsessed with his ex-wife that he blew her away at a red light 20 years ago. I think Barbour should be encouraging stronger legislation about domestic violence so that he doesn't send a mixed message to women in Mississippi. I'm still mad about that.

Kingfish said...

Not going to happen.

I'm the only one calling for these changes. The DV Coalition focuses more on protective orders and making it easier for women to file charges. My take from personal experience is the laws turn these guys loose after they are convicted and that is what needs to be corrected. They'll spend a night or two in lock-up. Its serving a felony for 2 years and having to give up their guns that gets their attention.

Anonymous said...

The felony upgrade is BS. The downside is that less charges will be filed by the officer investigating. The upside is people having pushing matches will be felons.

When all you have is a hammer for a tool, everything looks like a nail. You blew this one KF.

stilettoGOP said...

KF- ...THANK YOU for this.

I'm just getting a chance to read. *really* good stuff,.

NOTHING on gods green earth makes me more livid than this crap. (although hate to say it, but I think some of the accountability lies with the victim, the first time- GET the f OUT).

If there's anything i could ever do to help on this issue, I'm in. I remember around the Heather Spencer tragedy I was reading here and thinking- I've GOT to do something.

jesus i'm pissd.

and protective orders are a CROCK.

Ughh. this and abortion. my two buttons.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS